Vaishampayana said, “After the ladies had been dismissed, Dhritarashtra,the son of Ambika, plunged into grief greater than that which hadafflicted him before, began, O monarch, to indulge in lamentations,exhaling breaths that resembled smoke, and repeatedly waving his arms,and reflecting a little, O monarch, he said these words.
“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Alas, O Suta, the intelligence is fraught withgreat grief that I hear from thee, that the Pandavas are all safe andhave suffered no loss in battle. Without doubt, my hard heart is made ofthe essence of thunder, since it breaketh not upon hearing of the fall ofmy sons. Thinking of their ages, O Sanjaya, and of their sports inchildhood, and learning today that all of them have perished, my heartseems to break into pieces. Although in consequence of my blindness Inever saw their forms, still I cherished a great love for them inconsequence of the affection one feels for his children. Hearing thatthey had passed out of childhood and entered the period of youth and thenof early manhood, I became exceedingly glad, O sinless one. Hearing todaythat have been slain and divested of prosperity and energy, I fail toobtain peace of mind, being overwhelmed with grief on account of thedistress that has overtaken them. Come, come, O king of kings(Duryodhana) to me that am without a protector now! Deprived of thee, Omighty-armed one, what will be my plight? Why, O sire, abandoning all theassembled kings dost thou lie on the bare ground, deprived of life, likean ordinary and wretched king? Having been, O monarch, the refuge ofkinsmen and friends, where dost thou go now, O hero, abandoning me thatam blind and old? Where now, O king, is that compassion of thine, thatlove, and that respectfulness? Invincible as thou wert in battle, how,alas, hast thou been slain by the Parthas? Who will now, after I willhave waked from sleep at the proper hour, repeatedly address me in suchendearing and respectful words as, “O father, O father,” “O great king,””O Lord of the world” and affectionately clasping my neck with moistenedeyes, will seek my orders, saying, “Command me, O thou of Kuru’s race.”Address me, O son, in that sweet language once more. O dear child, Iheard even these words from thy lips, “This wide earth is as much ours asit is of Pritha’s son. Bhagadatta and Kripa and Shalya and the twoprinces of Avanti and Jayadratha and Bhurishrava and Sala and Somadattaand Bahlika and Ashvatthama and the chief of the Bhojas and the mightyprince of Magadha and Vrihadvala and the ruler of the Kasi and Shakunithe son of Subala and many thousands of Mlecchas and Sakas and Yavanas,and Sudakshina the ruler of the Kambojas and the king of the Trigartasand the grandsire Bhishma and Bharadwaja’s son and Gotama’s son (Kripa)and Srutayush and Ayutayush and Satayush of great energy, and Jalasandhaand Rishyasringa’s son and the Rakshasa Alayudha, and the mighty-armedAlambusa and the great car-warrior Subala–these and numerous otherkings, O best of monarchs, have taken up arms for my sake, prepared tocast away their very lives in great battle, stationed on the field amidstthese, and surrounded by my brothers, I will fight against all theParthas and the Pancalas and the Cedis, O tiger among kings, and the sonsof Draupadi and Satyaki and Kunti-Bhoja and the rakshasa Ghatotkaca. Evenone amongst these, O king, excited with rage, is able to resist in battlethe Pandavas rushing towards him. What need I say then of all theseheroes, every one of whom has wrong to avenge on the Pandavas, whenunited together? All these, O monarch, will fight with the followers ofthe Pandavas and will slay them in battle. Karna alone, with myself, willslay the Pandavas. All the heroic kings will then live under my sway. He,who is their leader, the mighty Vasudeva, will not, he has told me, puton mail for them, O king.” Even in this way, O Suta, did Duryodhana oftenuse to speak to me. Hearing what he said, I believed that the Pandavaswould be slain in battle. When, however, my sons stationed in the midstof those heroes and exerting themselves vigorously in battle have allbeen slain, what can it be but destiny? When that lord of the world, thevaliant Bhishma, having encountered Shikhandi, met with his death like alion meeting with his at the hands of a jackal, what can it be butdestiny? When the Brahmana Drona, that master of all weapons offensiveand defensive, has been slain by the Pandavas in battle, what can it bebut destiny? When Bhurishrava has been slain in battle, as also Somadattaand king Bahlika, what can it be but destiny? When Bhagadatta, skilled infight from the backs of elephants, has been slain, and when Jayadrathahath been slain, what can it be but destiny? When Sudakshina has beenslain, and Jalasandha of Puru’s race, as also Srutayush, and Ayutayush,what can it be but destiny? When the mighty Pandya, that foremost of allwielders of weapons, has been slain in battle by the Pandavas, what canit be but destiny? When Vrihadvala has been slain and the mighty king ofthe Magadhas, and the valiant Ugrayudha, that type of all bowmen; whenthe two princes of Avanti (Vinda and Anuvinda) have been slain, and theruler also of the Trigartas, as also numerous Samsaptakas, what can it bebut destiny? When king Alambusa, and the Rakshasas Alayudha, andRishyasringa’s son, have been slain, what can it be but destiny? When theNarayanas have been slain, as also the Gopalas, those troops that wereinvincible in battle, and many thousands of Mlecchas, what can it be butdestiny? When Shakuni, the son of Subala, and the mighty Uluka, calledthe gamester’s son, that hero at the head of his forces, have been slain,what can it be but destiny? When innumerable high-souled heroes,accomplished in all kinds of weapons offensive and defensive and enduedwith prowess equal to that of Shakra himself, have been slain, O Suta,when Kshatriyas hailing from diverse realms, O Sanjaya, have all beenslain in battle, what can it be but destiny? Endued with great might, mysons and grandsons have been slain, as also my friends and brethren, whatcan it be but destiny? Without doubt, man takes his birth, subject todestiny. That man who is possessed of good fortune meets with good. I ambereft of good fortune, and, therefore, am deprived of my children, OSanjaya. Old as I am, how shall I now submit to the sway of enemies? I donot think anything other than exile into the woods to be good for me, Olord. Deprived of relatives and kinsmen as I am, I will go into thewoods. Nothing other than an exile into the woods can be better for mewho am fallen into this plight and who am shorn of my wings, O Sanjaya.When Duryodhana had been slain, when Shalya has been slain, whenDuhshasana and Vivingsati and the mighty Vikarna have been slain, howshall I be able to bear the roars of that Bhimasena who hath alone slaina hundred sons of mine in battle? He will frequently speak of theslaughter of Duryodhana in my hearing. Burning with grief and sorrow, Ishall not be able to bear his cruel words.'”
Vaishampayana continued, “Even thus that king, burning with grief anddeprived of relatives and kinsmen, repeatedly swooned, overwhelmed withsorrow on account of the death of his sons. Having wept for a long while,Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, breathed heavy and hot sighs at thethought of his defeat. Overwhelmed with sorrow, and burning with grief,that bull of Bharata’s race once more enquired of his charioteer Sanjaya,the son of Gavalgana, the details of what had happened.
“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After Bhishma and Drona had been slain, and theSuta’s son also overthrown, whom did my warriors make theirgeneralissimo? The Pandavas are slaying without any delay everyone whommy warriors are making their generalissimo in battle. Bhishma was slainat the van of battle by the diadem-decked Arjuna in the very sight of allof you. Even thus was Drona slain in the sight of all of you. Even thuswas the Suta’s son, that valiant Karna, slain by Arjuna in the sight ofall the kings. Long before, the high-souled Vidura had told me thatthrough the fault of Duryodhana the population of the Earth would beexterminated. There are some fools that do not see things even thoughthey cast their eyes on them. Those words of Vidura have been even sounto my foolish self. What Vidura of righteous soul, conversant withattributes of everything, then said, hath turned out exactly, for thewords he uttered were nothing but the truth. Afflicted by fate, I did notthen act according to those words. The fruits of that evil course havenow manifested themselves. Describe them to me, O son of Gavalgana, oncemore! Who became the head of our army after Karna’s fall? Who was thatcar-warrior who proceeded against Arjuna and Vasudeva? Who were they thatprotected the right wheel of the ruler of the Madras in battle? Whoprotected the left wheel of that hero when he went to battle? Who alsoguarded his rear? How, when all of you were together, could the mightyking of the Madras, as also my son, be slain, O Sanjaya, by the Pandavas?Tell me the details of the great destruction of the Bharatas. Tell me howmy son Duryodhana fell in battle. Tell me how all the Pancalas with theirfollowers, and Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi and the five sons ofDraupadi, fell. Tell me how the (five) Pandavas and the two Satwatas(Krishna and Satyaki), and Kripa and Kritavarma and Drona’s son, haveescaped with life. I desire to hear everything about the manner in whichthe battle occurred and the kind of battle it was. Thou art skilled, OSanjaya, in narration. Tell me everything.'”